Best Pre-Pandemic Product: 2019 Marin Water Rosé

Marin Water

Remember how light and frivolous 2019 seemed? If you don’t, Marin Water Rosé might just help you remember. Originally Jonathon Pey, winemaker for Pey-Marin Vineyards (makers of some stellar West Marin pinot noirs) had decided to celebrate his 20th harvest, by creating a product he had made early on in his career.“I had lived in France and Susan [Pey’s late wife and partner] had lived in Italy, so we knew rosé,” says Pey. “In 2003 we had made a rosé from Marin County grown grapes. For our 20th harvest I thought it would be kind of fun and different to bring it back.”

That original rosé was the first Marin county rosé ever commercially produced. “In terms of the national wine industry now, rosé is a really popular drink. It is all over the place,” says Pey. “We did it about 10 years too early.”

His Marin Water seeks to remedy that situation. The new rosé is a hand pruned, hand-picked, 100 percent stainless steel fermented, non-malolactic wine, which sees no oak at all. It comes in at 12.1 percent alcohol and exhibits a bright tangy combination of rose, honeysuckle, jasmine tea, and strawberry. If you are looking for a dry European style rosé, Marin Water just might be it.

“My daughters and I thought it would be fun to call it Marin Water,” says Pey. “The label design was really driven by them. You can imagine that the design sensibilities of three women in their twenties are a little more contemporary than those of a 58-year-old man. That is why this label looks a little more contemporary. It might seem like a slightly frivolous label, but it is quite a serious wine.”

Serious, yet frivolous, that was so 2019 and for $25 you can go back there, literally. Shipping and handling are included on 6-packs.

Available at Scenic Root Winegrowers (Pey-Marin), San Anselmo, 415.455.9463.

The 2020 Drink Category was sponsored by Bon Air.

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Jeff Burkhart

Jeff Burkhart is the Barfly columnist for the Marin IJ, the author of Twenty Years Behind Bars: The Spirited Adventures of a Real Bartender, Vol. I and II, the host of the Barfly Podcast on iTunes and an award-winning bartender at a local restaurant. Follow him at and contact him at [email protected].